Does a Smart TV Need an Antenna

I recently got myself an LG OLED Smart TV. It’s my dream TV and a vital part of my smart home. I’ve set it up with an Aerial/Antenna, but does a smart TV need an antenna in Australia? You don’t need to plugin an antenna into a smart TV for it to work. And I think many people can get away without ever needing to plugin an antenna.

In this post I’m going to break down what you can and can’t do without installing an antenna on your Smart TV.

Do Smart TVs Need An Antenna in Australia?

A Smart TV does not need an antenna in Australia.

A Smart TV will work without an antenna, it just won’t be able to receive Freeview channels. You can setup a smart TV without needing to install an antenna. If you don’t have an antenna outlet in your house you can still get the TV setup and working and depending on what you use it for, you might not need an antenna at all.

Do Smart TVs have an Antenna Built In?

No Smart TVs do not have built in Antennas (Aerial). If you want to receive freeview TV you will need to plug your Smart TV into an Antenna. An outdoor external antenna will provide the best reception. In some cases an indoor antenna might also work.

Why Does a Smart TV need an Antenna?

An Antenna is required to watch digital TV on your smart TV. This is channels like the ABC, Nine, Seven etc. If you watch these channels then you’re going to need to get an antenna. The Antenna will also power the EPG (electronic program guide) so you can see what is on.

If you want to access traditional Freeview channels without using a streaming app you’ll need an antenna!

What can I use my Smart TV for without an Antenna?

Even though my Smart TV is plugged into an external antenna, I don’t actually use any of the features that need an antenna. Basically I don’t watch any Freeview tv.

On my smart tv I use streaming apps like Netflix, Binge, Stan, Kayo Sports etc. Basically I watch everything on demand. If I want to watch any programs that are on Freeview I can watch them through the streaming apps like ABC iView, SBS on Demand etc. While some people prefer to watch live tv, I much prefer to watch through a streaming app. Because all smart tvs have internet connectivity, you can watch pretty much everything through a streaming app. Many of the popular streaming apps like 7plus, also has live tv. However you might not get access to local TV which is often only broadcast over the digital Freeview network.

Do you need an Antenna for Apple TV?

The Apple TV is one of my favourite HomeKit accessories. I have it plugged into my TV. Although I can download apps to my TV, I much prefer the Apple TV remote and interface over the TV’s one. Plus I can control it using Siri or my phone. You can’t plug an Antenna into an Apple TV. The Apple TV is just a internet enabled device with no antenna connection.

Can I access local news channels without an Antenna?

If you watch local news like ABC Canberra, you can watch that through ABC iView. So you won’t need an antenna. Some stations might not stream the local news through their respective streaming app.

How to Watch TV without an Antenna in Australia

If your TV is a Smart TV that can connect to the internet the good news is that you can watch a lot of broadcast TV using streaming apps. The major channels all have streaming apps like 7plus (for Seven) and iView (for ABC).

If you don’t have a smart TV you can also download these apps to your phone or access them through your web browser.

To convert an older TV with no antenna into a Smart TV I would use a device like an Amazon Fire Stick or Google Chromecast. These will let you watch streaming apps through your older tv.

The Bottom Line – Do you need an Antenna for your Smart TV?

If you’re just watching TV through streaming apps like Netflix, then you won’t need an antenna. If you want access to Freeview channels without using a streaming app like 7plus or iView, you will need to plug in an antenna. If you don’t currently have an outlet, I would try using your smart tv before paying for an antenna to get installed. You might be surprised how little you miss Freeview tv and the endless ads! Remember you will need an internet connection (wifi is fine) for accessing any streaming app or to use the Apple TV or Google Chromecast.

I’ve got an antenna but I’ve never used it’s features (Freeview) on my smart TV. I’m curious to know if others have the same experience – let me know in the comments.

What to do if you don’t have an Antenna?

The best way to receive freeview channels is by using an outdoor antenna. This will give you the most reliable signal and picture quality. If you don’t have access to an Antenna the next best thing you can do is install an indoor antenna.

I’ve found most indoor antenna’s don’t work. The best signal I got was using the H Yanka Amplified Antenna. While I found this worked better than most indoor antennas it still might not deliver a trouble free picture depending on your location.

If you don’t have an outdoor antenna, using streaming apps will probably give you the best viewing experience.

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Anthony is a Smart Home Geek. He's been building the smart home of his dreams over the past 5 years. He loves all things Apple, but works with a number of different ecosystems and platforms.